'There was one moment when Dhoni got up, spoke, and turned emotional': Watson narrates unheard CSK story
The former Australia all-rounder revealed a story about his time at Chennai Super Kings, recalling how Dhoni had turned emotional as he addressed the team.
Chennai Super Kings have been one of the most successful franchises in the history of the Indian Premier League. The side has lifted four IPL titles so far – the second highest in number, only behind Mumbai Indians (5). The Super Kings' last title victory came in 2021 but one of their most memorable title wins came in 2018, when the Super Kings, under Mahendra Singh Dhoni's captaincy, defeated Sunrisers Hyderabad in their comeback season. The CSK had made a return to the tournament after a two-year ban on corruption charges.
The 2018 side had been nicknamed the ‘Dad’s Army' due to the presence of many senior cricketers in the side. Dhoni himself was 35 at the time, and some of CSK's key performers were over 30; Shane Watson, Dwayne Bravo, Imran Tahir, and Harbhajan Singh, to name a few.
On Tuesday, Harbhajan and Watson were reunited as they took part in the Legends League Cricket, a T20 league for retired cricketers. In an interview ahead of the match in Doha, the duo spoke about their time in CSK and reminisced the victory in 2018; Watson recalled how Dhoni turned emotional when the squad gathered for the first time ahead of the season.
“There was one moment when MS Dhoni got up and spoke at the first team function that we had. You could see how much it meant to him, he got emotional around how much it meant for him to CSK to get back together," Watson said.
“Then the first game against MI, Dwayne Bravo pulled the rabbit out of the hat, got us home out of nowhere. The belief of immediate. We got the team, we got the players, and we had good performances. The environment Dhoni and Stephen Fleming created.. you just went out and had fun. We never talked about results, (we were) just there to enjoy ourselves. We had a great bunch of players, with families there as well. For me, it was a special time,” said the former Australia all-rounder.
Chennai Super Kings will play in the curtain-raiser of the 2023 Indian Premier League on March 31, as they take on defending champions Gujarat Titans.